| LEARNING CONNECTIONS
Enroll Your Students in Vocabulary University
your level of
Aterri c odyssey of word discovery begins the moment one
enters Vocabulary University.
Based on the study of etymology, Vocabulary University (www.vocabulary.
com) helps students of all ages become
Word Wizards. For teachers, it o ers
endless pedagogical possibilities. I
discovered this gem while researching
methods to supplement word study over the summer with online materials. is site is so comprehensive that it led us to launch a hybrid etymology
course for our district.
e site consists of four major areas: Root and Word Lesson Plans, ematic
Puzzles, Word Lists, and Test Prep and Assessment. Each topic allows students
to enrich vocabulary through creative and challenging exercises. e focus on
digital literacy is a key component. e site has been updated and reconstructed
to appeal to students of all levels in elementary, middle, and high school. Online
caricatures representing professors, including Cinny Nym, Auntie Nym, and Al
Literation, guide students through the exercises.
e types of exercises students complete include: Fill-in-the-Blanks, De -
nition Match, Synonym/Antonym Encounter, Crosswords, Word Finds, True
or False Sentences, Contextual Stories, and Concentration Puzzles. A er answering the daily puzzles, students receive immediate feedback and a rubric
that explains their grade. For my digital natives, the instant feedback is very
gratifying, and the graphics are visually pleasing—they can frequently be
heard saying, “COOL!”
Here are a few of my favorite features of Vocabulary University:
online assessment tool.
Supplementary SAT/ACT study and review. ere are 12 sessions of Top SAT/ACT
Words with more than 216 words. Session 9 and Session 10 are focused on foreign
words and science/biology words.
School calendar and lesson plans. ere is a school calendar to supplement literacy.
e calendar can be adjusted to your curriculum or could serve as a guiding framework for students who wish to supplement their studies with independent work.
Word lists for books. is is an alphabetical list of more than 125 books where
students can obtain vocabulary lists for enrichment purposes. ere is also a list
of themes, which includes puzzles focusing on a range of subjects, such as holidays/
celebration, sports and seasons, character education, and many more.
Suggested use. Students can complete daily puzzles as “bell work” or during the last
few minutes of class. Students can also complete the puzzles at home and print the
page for their teacher, or copy and paste it in an e-mail (electronic portfolio, Google
Doc, or other shared communication.)
Students may also complete assignments from Vocabulary University in
the lab. As each student works at his/her own pace; some may nish early
and need another vocabulary activity.
—Lisa Bucciarelli is a foreign language instructor at Hinsdale Central High School in Chicago, Illinois.
She has her MA in Spanish and her EdD in curricular studies. She has presented at numerous conferences in the realm of digital education.